Close finish in cross-country

IN one of the closest finishes for some years, Gordon Irvine won the annual Bungay Black Dog Running Club Boxing Day cross-country race on Outney Common.

IN one of the closest finishes for some years, Gordon Irvine won the annual Bungay Black Dog Running Club Boxing Day cross-country race on Outney Common.

James Preston, from City of Norwich AC, led at the end of the first of the two-lap course along the banks of the river Waveney, with Lowestoft Road Runners' Carl Prewer also in contention.

But 30-year-old Irvine, who was second in the event last year, was determined to go one better this time, and in the last phase of the five-mile race took the lead and held on to win.

The Woodbridge Shufflers runner said at the end: “It was a pretty steady run from everyone. About five of us got together as a pack, but coming into the second lap I took the lead.


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“The guy behind me was always on my tail, but in the home straight I managed to pull way.”

He won in 29min 07sec, with Prewer 14 seconds behind in second place and Preston third a further four seconds behind.

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Preston's City of Norwich teammate Lynn Emmett won the women's event with a steady run in which she led almost from the start, finishing in 36:15, well over two minutes ahead of Amy Canham, of Saxon Road Runners. Third was Norwich Road Runners' Dawn Calver in 38:40.

Alfie Chapman, a 16-year-old Wymondham College student, won the one-lap race in an impressive 15:46, with Julian Long, of St Edmund's Pacers, 13 seconds behind in second place and 38-year-old Robert James, of Bungay Black Dog Running Club, third in 16:10.Julian also won the award for dog and handler.

James was also accompanied by his dog Morgan - one of five members of his family taking part. The others were Kate James, in her 60s, Robert's brother Michael 41, Charlotte 11 and Susy 11.

The event attracted a record field of 170 runners in all. It was started by the town reeve, Professor Christopher Hand.

Results: Two laps, men - 1 Gordon Irvine (Woodbridge Shufflers) 29:07, 2 Carl Prewer (Lowestoft Road Runners) 29:21, 3 James Preston (City of Norwich AC) 29:25. Women - 1 Lynn Emmett (City of Norwich AC) 36:15, 2 Amy Canham (Saxon Road Runners) 38:31, 3 Dawn Calver (Norwich Road Runners) 38:40.

One lap - 1 Alfie Canham (Wymondham College) 15:46, 2 Julian Long (St Edmund's Pacers) 15:59, 3 Robert James (Bungay Black Dog Running Club) 16:10.

Dog and handler - Julian Long.

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